Another Look At NIH Conflict-Of-Interest Cases | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 5, 2007

Another Look At NIH Conflict-Of-Interest Cases

Acting on new information, HHS inspector general has reopened 103 cases
Department: Government & Policy

The Department of Health & Human Services inspector general has reopened 103 conflict-of-interest cases involving NIH intramural researchers, according to a letter to former House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas). Barton, who is now the ranking Republican on the committee, led a multi-year investigation of ethical conflicts at NIH.

The 103 cases are being reopened on the basis of information gathered at the request of the committee from several large pharmaceutical companies. The inspector general is still reviewing the cases to see if further investigations are needed.

"NIH specializes in great science, not detective work, and it shows," Barton said. "I hope the inspector general's inquiry will finally sort things out so everyone can have confidence that the public's interest is being fully served," he added.

In addition to reopening the conflict-of-interest cases, the inspector general's office also noted in its letter to Barton that it has begun a review of how NIH oversees financial conflict-of-interest issues at its grantee institutions. The letter notes that because the majority of NIH's funds are distributed to extramural researchers, this project is "an important next step."

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